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RE: Does Mathematica do transparent colors?

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg31323] RE: [mg31318] Does Mathematica do transparent colors?
  • From: "David Park" <djmp at>
  • Date: Sun, 28 Oct 2001 03:07:03 -0500 (EST)
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at


Mathematica has no direct way to make transparent or translucent colors. In
your case, this may be a blessing.

Carl Bergstrom introduced me to an excellent book: "The Visual Display of
Quantitative Information" by Edward R. Tufte. One of the principles is
maximizing the data ink and minimizing ink that does not actually contain
information. Having colored bars AND a colored filled plot might actually be

Which is more important: the actual data values, or the fact that they
closely follow a normal distribution? In the first case you could used a
regular bar chart and draw a normal unfilled distribution curve over it,
perhaps using a gray line. In the second case, you could draw a filled
normal distribution and represent the data by plot points or plot symbols.
Another possibility (not as good in my opinion) is to use a filled normal
curve and use rectangular outlines instead of filled bars.

In any case, I think you could achive an effective display without the use
of translucent colors.

David Park
djmp at

> From: Ronald Bruck [mailto:bruck at]
To: mathgroup at
> Subject says it all.  I'd like to have translucent colors, so that I
> can see one object underneath another.  Is there any way to do this in
> Mathematica?
> For example, I'd like to plot a bar chart of e.g. a binomial
> distribution and overlay it with a filled plot of the corresponding
> normal distribution--but still be able to see the bars, underneath.
> --Ron Bruck

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